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BBL: UMD’s New Trace Center; Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Event Details


HCIL (2105 Hornbake, South Wing)


The Trace R&D Center just landed on campus in the iSchool. Founded at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1971, it has for 45 years been a leader in Technology and Disability research, development, and policy. Trace Center developments are found in every modern operating system, US Automated Postal Stations, Amtrak Kiosks, DHS Airport kiosks, and ICT of all types. Trace guidelines and work were used as the foundation for IBM, Microsoft, Apple and other companies’ access guidelines as well as key parts of the W3C’s WCAG 1 and 2, and US Access Board’s 508/255 guidelines. A brief history of the Trace Center will be provided followed by an overview of the current programs, partners, and potential future directions. Opportunities to get involved will also be explored.


Dr. Vanderheiden has been active in the area of Technology and Disability for over 45 years. His early work was in Augmentative Communication, a term taken from his writings in the late 70’s. Starting in 1979, his focus shifted to personal computers and he worked inside Apple, Microsoft and IBM on increasing the accessibility and usability of their products. Apple included features in Apple IIe, gs, and MacOS and iOS. IBM and Microsoft licensed 9 features from Dr. Vanderheiden’s group for inclusion in DOS, OS/2, and Windows. Dr. Vanderheiden co-chaired and co-authored the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 1.0 and 2.0), worked with the Access Board on 255 and 508, and lead the effort to develop the EZ-Access package of cross-disability access features that are now built into Amtrak ticket machines, Automated Postal Stations, Homeland Security Passport Kiosks, and many other ITMs across the country. His current focus is on the development of a Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII).